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Thread: Simple question.

  1. #1

    Simple question.

    What is it to be a Zen Buddhist?

    When you wake up in the morning, what gives you motivation to continue your study?

    And what in the long run do we learn from Buddhism and Zen?

    Just a few things that puzzle me.

    Gassho,
    Jess.

    Hope

  2. #2
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    Re: Simple question.

    Simple answer: Who is asking?

    Gassho,
    Yugen

  3. #3

    Re: Simple question.

    Buddhism is the study of Reality.

    And the truth is, suffering is a part of that reality.

    But suffering has a cause.

    And a cure.

    That is what Buddhism is all about.

    Zen is about discovering this directly for yourself, in your day to day life.

    That's enough to keep me motivated...ending my suffering. And that of others.

    Could there be a more noble path?

    I mean, we could talk philosophy all day long. But it is WHAT WE DO that counts.

    Zen is about doing. It is about action.

    We sit alot. But that sitting is itself action. In fact, it is the most complete act possible.

    It is Buddha. Here and now. And...it is nothing special.

    gassho
    Greg

  4. #4

    Re: Simple question.

    I think this is a good question that each one of us must answer... I mean really why are we taking the Zen path. If I don't know why I'm practicing, how the hell will anyone else know? I have to echo what Jundo sensei said in is latest sit-a-long. We are all interconnected, and we can choose in each moment to be a Bodhisattva to cause less suffering, bring joy and love into this world, or we can be a devil and bring anger, greed and ignorance.

    It's up to us. The consequence of having free will is that we can choose to create and nurture or to destroy. I follow this path because it causes me to investigate my life. I sit zazen when I don't feel like sitting zazen because regardless of what my ego feels like, that is my practice. It's a vow I've taken. And that vow is supported by the realization of interconnectedness and our ability to bring love or hate into this universe.

    It's pretty simple (in theory), but of course some times it's difficult to practice especially when certain events cause habitual responses of anger, greed and ignorance; then again, that's the real meat of the practice. I guess that's why even though we've taken the Bodhisattva vow we know what we vow to do is endless. It's a practice because new things come up that reveal our delusion. And then we must deepen our practice.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  5. #5

    Re: Simple question.

    These are just the personal reflections of a fellow beginner:

    Quote Originally Posted by thirst_for_knowledge
    What is it to be a Zen Buddhist?
    Hmm... I don't know. :? Alive..? What is it to be you?

    When you wake up in the morning, what gives you motivation to continue your study?
    When you wake up in the morning, what gives you motivation to continue living?
    I'm sorry I can't give you a better answer. Zen practice is just something I feel I must do. I could try to rationalize and try to come up with a well thought-out answer, but I suspect I would be deluding both myself and you.

    And what in the long run do we learn from Buddhism and Zen?
    What do we in the long run learn from life? Zen might be seen as a 'shortcut' to the wisdom or insight of living. What I mean is that if you live long enough without practicing Zen, you would probably end up with the same understandning and state of mind as if you were practicing Zen, despite sleepwalking through life and being thrown here and there by thoughts and emotions. But by practicing, not wasting time and being mindful in this present moment, you live life to it's fullest, in it's purest form, letting life manifest life through life. Apart from that, this practice is really good for nothing (see my signature).

    Thank you very much for asking the questions! I needed them.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  6. #6

    Re: Simple question.

    Quote Originally Posted by thirst_for_knowledge
    What is it to be a Zen Buddhist?

    When you wake up in the morning, what gives you motivation to continue your study?

    And what in the long run do we learn from Buddhism and Zen?

    Just a few things that puzzle me.

    Gassho,
    Jess.

    Hope
    Hi Jess,

    In the long run, awakening. We don't strive, perhaps, and don't pursue or chase it, but awakening is still at the core. Even if just sitting is awakening, we are not fully aware of it, other than on an intellectual level.

    In the longer run, continuing being reborn so as to be able to save all sentient beings.

    In the short run? Getting up, playing with my kids, go to work, go to school, minimize the suffering whenever I can, both for others and for me. Stop seeing others and me as two.

  7. #7

    Re: Simple question.

    Hello Jess,

    there are some good and wise answers in this thread already. So I'll keep my two cents worth brief.

    You ask: "When you wake up in the morning, what gives you motivation to continue your study?"

    Without trying to sound pretentious, to me it really boils down to clarifying the great matter of life and death. That's what gives me my motivation. That great matter is not some intellectual question, it is a fundamental burning and yearning. As reality is ever changing, ever continuous change, so my practice continues.

    If Zen was just a thing that could be bought, or a helpful tool that one uses once in a while when need arises...like a Leatherman multitool-knife, I would never ever have developed a habit of daily sitting ( and I really should sit more).

    It's hard in these days of multiple distractions to stick to something so boring....in a Sangha we can support one another, but what we cannot do is give each other this fundamental will to truthfulness....or Bodaishin or whatever you want to call it. We can only nurture each other's reaching into the core of.....this....... but we cannot make one another have that initial drive I believe. If this whole matter is half as important to us as our own rhetoric would make us believe most of the time....finding time to sit Zazen would not really be a problem. I shudder at the thought of how many hours I have wasted and continue to waste in front of the TV for example.


    Gassho,


    Hans

  8. #8

    Re: Simple question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans
    You ask: "When you wake up in the morning, what gives you motivation to continue your study?"

    Without trying to sound pretentious, to me it really boils down to clarifying the great matter of life and death. That's what gives me my motivation. That great matter is not some intellectual question, it is a fundamental burning and yearning. As reality is ever changing, ever continuous change, so my practice continues.
    Yes! Thank you Hans. Very well put.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  9. #9

    Re: Simple question.

    Just sitting helps reduce the suffering I cause myself and others. It's very simple.

  10. #10

    Re: Simple question.

    Quote Originally Posted by thirst_for_knowledge
    When you wake up in the morning, what gives you motivation to continue your study?
    I find that if I don't, I am blown about by my internal winds a bit more. It's subtle but it builds and wears me down. Pretty soon I'm too spun around and in chaos.

  11. #11

    Re: Simple question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Just sitting helps reduce the suffering I cause myself and others. It's very simple.
    I don't mean to single you out, Rich, but your response really blew me away. I hope someday I will be experienced enough in the Way that I won't have to talk (and type!) so much to try to prove it. Thanks for this brilliant answer.

    bowing to the buddha in you
    Greg

  12. #12

    Re: Simple question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Just sitting helps reduce the suffering I cause myself and others. It's very simple.
    I don't mean to single you out, Rich, but your response really blew me away. I hope someday I will be experienced enough in the Way that I won't have to talk (and type!) so much to try to prove it. Thanks for this brilliant answer.

    bowing to the buddha in you
    Greg
    Greg, thank you for your response but I'm just a stupid old fool who needs some hard training to break the bad habits I've accumulated over the years.

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